Who are the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl talking about?
Who are the people in the story?
The Parables Of The Hidden Treasure &The Pearl Of Great Price
The parable of the hidden treasure is sometimes applied to a sinner, giving up all in order to find Christ, the greatest Treasure. But this interpretation violates the doctrine of grace which insists that salvation is without price (Isa. 55:1; Eph. 2:8, 9).
Similarly, when it comes to the parable of the pearl of great price, we might begin with asking, Who is looking for Godly pearls?
Are sinners looking for salvation? Scripture doesn't read like that and few who actively reach out to the lost would have that experience. Sinners aren't looking for salvation. The merchantman cannot be the sinner because he has nothing with which to pay. To begin with, he is not seeking Christ, and if he were, how could he buy Him?
The merchantman sells all that he has - how can a sinner sell all that they have when they are dead in trespasses and sins (see Eph. 2:1)? Further, the Scriptures are very clear that Christ and salvation are not for sale. Salvation is a gift - “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God so loved that He gave. And in Romans 6:23 we are told that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The correct interpretation of this parable (say those who propound this point of view) reveals Christ as the merchantman.
He left His heavenly home and came to this earth to find a pearl of great price. He found lost sinners and died for them by shedding His precious blood. He sold all that He had to buy us and redeem us to God. Paul told this to the Corinthians: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). He redeems us to God - He bought us.
And like a pearl that grows from irritation, the church has grown through suffering.
In contrast, Juan Carlos Ortiz who in 1975 wrote Disciple, the book in which the imaginary conversation which is the basis for the dialogue we observed and listened to earlier, disagreed with this point of view.
He clearly states,
“… when we find Jesus, it costs us everything. He has happiness, joy peace, healing, security, eternity, everything and we ask how much the pearl is.”
Sinners And Disciples
Both are right…
Jesus went to the cross and gave all he had for sinners in the world, to “bring them out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of
At Calvary he gave all that he had to buy the pearl and like pearl is formed inside an oyster through suffering caused by irritation, so the church began through the piercing and wounding of the body of the Savior.
We cannot buy or earn happiness, joy, peace, healing or security et al much less eternity…
But when we see the love of God in Christ and receive it, we realise how priceless is the one who gave himself for us and if we truly love him in return, we will give anything to serve him, to enable others to come to know the experience of his love and to grow in the knowledge of him.
It's the difference between sinners and disciples.
As sinners Christ buys us.
As disciples we do not and cannot buy him, but we carry on his work of giving flesh to his love and revealing the kingdom of God.
That's what the Church - and the disciples who compose it - has done throughout its history, given its all, that others might know the love of God and that the kingdom of God might change the world.
The other example scripture gives is one of a battle, where the cost of underestimating the cost is deadly indeed.
Once we know the cost, we know what we're tackling and can seek God's help.
The cost may be high but may we find that the one who gave his all for us, is worth our giving our all to know him and serve him and reveal his love and his kingdom.